Paradise Ranch

Contributed photo
Contributed photo
Location: N of US-16, 13 miles W of Buffalo, WY
GPS:   44d 20m 23s    -106d 57m 47s
Map / Satellite Image: Google Link

Travel Directions:
50.7 miles east of Ten Sleep (13 miles west of Buffalo) on US-16, turn north onto Hunter Creek Road. (Reference: 44d 18m 56s, -106d 56m 20s)
Follow Hunter Creek Road 2.25 miles to the Paradise Ranch gate.

In late 2003, Ang Lee had agreed to make Brokeback Mountain, but he faced what every director loathes—money problems. Brokeback Mountain was a complex movie with over 80 locations, spanning almost two decades. Focus Features had raised money to make the film, but it would need to be shot quite frugally, in Canada.

Lee, who had never before made a film outside of its “real” location, resisted. He made an exploratory trip to Alberta where he met with prospective production manager Tom Benz and toured possible shooting locations there. Then he visited Wyoming, still hopeful of finding a way to make Brokeback Mountain there.

This is how Ang Lee came to stay at the exclusive Paradise Guest Ranch near Buffalo, Wyoming, in December 2003. Proprietors Clay and Leah Miller hosted the famous director and did their best to extol the virtues of Wyoming scenery, and their claim to the cowboy life and lore. Lee surveyed the area, especially the Wind River Valley to the west, where he found what he imagined to be the perfect Brokeback setting.

In the end, economics won out over the director’s passion for authenticity. Movie making requires infrastructure, services, equipment, and skilled professionals that simply do not exist in Wyoming. The film was made in Canada and, even then, the filmmakers ran short of money. “This is not a low-budget film,” he once complained to the producers, “this is a NO-budget film.”

A few of the locations Lee would later choose for filming, especially some of the ones at Buffalo Paddock (the Sheep Tangle, Dead Sheep Rock, Chilean Rock, and Coyote Hill), were plainly influenced by the stunning scenery he found surrounding the Paradise Guest Ranch. As you see, the rock outcroppings in both places are remarkably similar and consistently beautiful.

The stratospheric rates at the Paradise Guest Ranch make it unlikely that most of us will ever have the chance to stay there, but visitors to the area can see some of the ranch by driving along Hunter Creek Road to the gate. The next best thing? Spend a bit of time with their interesting website and learn more about this unique and exclusive place.


Always obtain appropriate permission before entering private property.

Pictures of surrounding area:












  Revised 18 December 2010